Grassroots regular season comes to a close in Elora
"He’s a really gutsy little horse.”
September 13, 2017
(Photo of Sylvain Filion and Nobodynosjustice courtesy of Iron Horse Photo)
The 2017 Grassroots regular season came to a close at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening with two divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts.
Five colts squared off in the first $17,750 division and Leaderofthepack took quick command, reaching the quarter in :30. Fan favourite Nobodynosjustice and Jula Downton followed, with the other two competitors out of the action early. Heading for the 1:01.2 half Nobodynosjustice stepped to the outside, but failed to wrestle command from Leaderofthepack and Jul Downton’s challenge heading for the 1:32 three-quarters was also thwarted by the pacesetter. Turning for home driver Sylvain Filion sent Nobodynosjustice out between the leader and the challenger and the gelding trotted strongly down the stretch to claim a neck victory in 2:02. Leaderofthepack settled for second and Jula Downton was third.
“Dany Fontaine asked me to go and drive him. He said, he’s got lots of go, but he’s a little touchy, and I think he was right,” said Filion. “In the post parade, he wouldn’t trot, he had a hard time going, and I had to wake him up a bit. Then in the race he was pretty good, but he was real grabby.
“I had a hard time holding him in the hole, that’s why I had to move him out, so he doesn’t get mad and go on the run,” the Milton, ON resident continued. “That was quite the big effort to come back and win like that, after a trip like that. He’s a really gutsy little horse.”
Filion piloted Nobodynosjustice to his second Grassroots win for trainer Dany Fontaine of Terrebonne, QC and owner-breeder Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, QC. Through seven starts the son of Justice Hall and Nobody Nos Butme has tallied three wins and one second for earnings of $27,337. His 125 Grassroots points put him in third spot in the division standings and will see him compete in the Sept. 30 Grassroots Championship at Mohawk Racetrack.
The second $18,100 division featured six starters and two of them skipped off stride at the start, including fan favourite Stormont Ventnor. Majestic Fire took advantage of his peers’ misfortune, gaining control from Post 1 and cruising to a :31.4 quarter. Driver Scott Young of Guelph, ON took his foot off the gas in the second quarter, allowing Majestic Fire to reach the half in 1:04.4, then picked up the tempo as Smart Pick mounted a challenge. The pair battled to a 1:35 three-quarters, but Smart Pick faded around the final turn, splitting horses and allowing Majestic Fire to open up a large enough gap that he was able to hold off a charging Stormont Ventnor and Radical Attempt. Majestic Fire hit the wire one and one-half lengths on top in 2:05.1.
“He’s a small horse, but very determined,” said trainer Mark Steacy of Majestic Fire. “He’s been battling growing pains all year, but battling through it and improving with every start.
“He got lucky tonight,” added the Lansdowne, ON resident, who conditions Majestic Fire for David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie, Shelly MacMillan of Waterloo and A K Malik Stable of Ottawa, ON.
Wednesday was Majestic Fire’s fifth start and his first visit to the winner’s circle. A $40,000 yearling at the 2016 Harrisburg Sale, the Majestic Son gelding boosted his earnings to $11,218 and his point tally to 61 with the win, putting him in a tie for ninth and landing a berth in the Grassroots Championship. The top 10 point earners will compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 30.
The Ontario Sires Stakes program will make one more stop at Grand River Raceway this season, as the Elora oval hosts the last Gold Series event for the three-year-old trotting fillies on Wednesday, Sept. 27 with a first race post time of 6:30 pm.